Tuesday, June 24, 2014

DIY Projects in the Works

I've never been one to have a hard time coming up with ideas or finding inspiration.  On the contrary, I always have far more ideas and projects in my head than I have time to do them.  Which results in many ideas getting pushed aside, or "thrown in the vault" as I like to say.  But every once in a while, an idea hits me and I feel compelled to drop everything and do it.  This has happened to me twice recently, and although neither was a completely original idea, I was so struck with inspiration that I immediately started work on them.

The first was this outdoor music wall, which I saw pop up in my Facebook news feed a couple of months ago:  http://www.filthwizardry.com/2010/05/music-wall-rip-music-tree.html

What a brilliant idea! And so easy, too.  And I knew we had the perfect spot for it, so two days later I was already gathering junk from our basement to do it.  It's still a work in progress, but here's a little sneaky peeky:

Outdoor music wall, in progress

I still have some more things I want to add to this, but it's a pretty good start!  And literally the only thing I purchased for this was some spray paint to liven it up.  Can't beat that!  Or can you??  (Ha!  See what I did there?  Haha, eh, ahem.)

Moving on to the second idea...  Several months ago, I got the urge to paint our van.  No, not have it repainted, but to paint it myself.  Crazy?  Maybe a little, but it wouldn't be the first time I have painted a vehicle - I had a car in high school and college that I painted twice: once with random designs and the other with the solar system and stars.  In any case, I have been thinking about this off and on for many months, but hadn't really come up with a plan of how I wanted to paint it.

///Fast forward to a couple weeks ago///

I was looking at one of those silly buzzfeed articles - you know the ones:  "30 Amazing Photos That Will Change Your Outlook on Life" or "16 Animals That Are So Cute You Will Cry" or some other nonsense, seemingly always in a tidy little list format.  I see these pop up in my Facebook news feed frequently, and I rarely click on them.  But for some reason, I happened to click on one a couple weeks ago - I don't even remember what the article was now, but somewhere in the ridiculous list was a photo of a car painted with chalkboard paint.  When I first saw the pic I kind of casually thought, "Haha, that would be fun." But after a day or so, I kept gravitating back to the idea and thought, "No, wait, that really would be fun!"  And it was the perfect solution to my indecision of how to paint the van - if I painted it with chalkboard paint, we could draw on it and keep changing it! 

Sneak peek at the chalkboard van!
It didn't take me long to start gathering supplies and begin work.  And of course, as soon as I got a little section done, we had to try it out!  Even though this is a fairly big project, two weeks after deciding to do it, I'm already half way done.  When inspiration strikes like this, it really is a force to be reckoned with!  Now I just have to wait out a couple of rainy days so I can finish it.  Back to indoor projects for now!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

B is Three!

Well, almost.  Her birthday is right around the corner, but we decided to celebrate a little early when Grandma and Grandpa were visiting over the weekend. We also decided to keep it simple and just do a family celebration this year. 

A couple weeks ago, I asked her what kind of cake she wanted, and she said, "Purple!  With purple frosting!  And strawberries!"  I checked in with her a couple times in the days leading up to the celebration, and she gave the same answer every time.  So, a purple cake with purple frosting and strawberries on top it was!  Fortunately from all of my experiments in making a rainbow cake with natural food dyes, I knew exactly how to make a purple cake:  blackberries. 
Interestingly, though, the blackberry juice which turned the cake a nice shade of purple, turned the frosting more of a pink.  I guess I need to do some frosting experiments!  I added some blueberry juice, which turned it a bit more purple.  In the end, it wasn't quite as purple as I had hoped, but the birthday girl loved it, so that's all that matters.  Well, that and the fact that it tasted good.  That matters, too!

The one and only present she asked for was a purple stuffy.  She hadn't ever really showed preference for one color over another until just recently - now she clearly loves purple!  Which makes me want to redecorate her room, but I have to keep reminding myself:  one project at a time.  Of course, that didn't stop me from going ahead and picking up purple paint chips at the hardware store.  (Ok, so I may have a teensy bit of a paint-chip-collecting problem!)  In any case, here she is with some of her presents: a purple puppy, which she loved, maracas, which were a big hit, and glitter paint - we go through a lot of  paint in this house and were well overdue for a restocking.  Big sis gave her the little dolly tucked under her other arm.  So cute!

It's hard to believe she's (almost) three already.  She's definitely not a baby anymore, which is a bit bittersweet.  On the one hand, you kind of wish they could stay little forever, but on the other, watching your children grow up is such an amazing thing, and growing up she certainly is!  Seriously, look at this big girl!!  Next thing I know she'll be asking to borrow the car.  Sigh.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spring Gardening Adventures

I'm not one to usually mind winter, but this winter felt brutal.  Bitter cold, tons of snow, lots of illnesses - it seemed never-ending.  Needless to say, I've had spring fever for quite some time now.  I've been daydreaming about starting up our garden again for months!  And now, finally, finally the time has come.  (Yippeeee!!!!)  I looked back at my garden notes from last year, which reminded me, oh yeah, I have a blog that I haven't posted on in months.  (Oops!)  I guess I should have learned by now to never end a blog post with "More soon!" as I did on my last one which was, oh, almost 8 months ago.  I suppose "soon" is relative, though, so 8 months could be considered soon, right?  It's sooner that 8 years.  Yeah, we'll go with that.  Apparently that's how I roll with this blogging thing.

In any event, looking back through my notes, I remembered that I wanted to take better notes this year, and more photos.  I'm going to make every effort to do that, so I started a log where I can quickly enter the date, what I did, and any observations or notes I want to remember.  I'm not going to bore anyone with the minute details of that, so I'll just quickly sum up what we've done so far.

We decided to try starting some seeds indoors this year.  We have a couple windows that get pretty good sunlight, so we thought we'd give it a go.  We started with some tomatoes in mid-March, and they seem to be doing well.  The last weekend in March, we went to a local garden center and let the girls each pick out one packet of flower seeds, and when we got home, we started some Chrysanthemums that G picked out and some chives. The following weekend, I added brussel sprouts and cabbage to our seedling collection, then watermelon. 

Last weekend it was finally warm enough, and dry enough, to get outside and start preparing the garden beds.  I've suddenly become very ambitious about gardening, and have decided to at least double the amount of space in our garden.  (Who needs a lawn anyway?)  In order to maximize our sunny area, I decided it was best to reconfigure our garden beds.  So I dug up two 4' x 8' sections, and used some old boards we found under the deck (thank you, previous owners!) to build the beds.  The girls were delighted to have a chance to dig in the dirt and see so many worms!  We've already planted peas, carrots, beets, and potatoes in the first bed, and I moved some strawberry plants to the second one.

This weekend we're planning to plant more peas and carrots in the second one, and I'd like to do some onions and spinach and/or lettuce, but we'd have to pick those up.  Oh, and I started building another bed, in addition to the 2 we are already planting and the 3 others I have built, which will give us 6 in all.  Yeah, I guess that's a little more than double, huh?  What can I say, I'm excited about this whole gardening thing!